Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We Are Stardust

Last week I had “one of those days.” You know the kind, where everything is going wrong and everyone is on your last nerve. Work was stressful, my kids were fighting, even my cats were fighting. Before I blew a gasket, I packed the kids in the car and headed off for yoga, breathing in and out, counting to ten.

I ran in and laid my yoga mat down, then rushed my warring boys off to kid-care in the gym. I returned just in time to see one of my fellow yogis literally pick my yoga mat up and toss it to the side, as she preceded to take my space.


Breathing… I asked another woman who saw this if she would mind moving up about 6 inches so I could have someplace to put my mat. She said no. She needed all of the space she was occupying and all the space surrounding it.

Thus began my inner rant – dividing myself from “those people” – the ones who don’t get what yoga is all about. “Those people” I assured myself, “are ruining my experience, and my whole Saturday!”

I wanted to see myself as separate from these defensive, space-grubbing narcissists. But then I remembered that we are connnected…

Joni Mitchell sang it 40 years ago, “We are stardust…we are golden…”
This is not just some hippie-dippie statement full of moonbeams. There is actually some real science behind it.

Astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson explains it this way:

“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally, stardust.”

In other words, I am connected to every person in this Universe, even the ones I don’t like. They way that I respond to others will affect me just as much (if not more) than it affects them.

So I breathed, and calmed myself and found another space to occupy.

People may have horrible manners and display sefishness, but we are connected. They are, we are, I am connected to everything in the universe, and made of the very same matter. Whether I like it or not.

And just when I want to struggle against the fact that this is true, here’s something else Tyson says, “The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it. ”

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Living in Possibility

Last night my husband Troy and I saw Cirque de Soleil Totem. This is the third time I’ve seen a Cirque show, and every time I am moved to tears. Yes, I am awed by the spectacular beauty and their superhuman feats… but it’s more than that.

As we were walking to our car after the performance, Troy said, “If the world would just stop fighting, we would see more miraculous things like this.”

And I realized that this is why I was so filled with emotion. Our world is weighted down in fear. Fear separates us, and causes us to fight each other. Fear causes us to fail. 

But on this night we saw no fear. We witnessed the best in humanity, from every race and creed, from all over the world. And I know these artists could not possibly do what they do if they had a moment of fear in their hearts.

When this woman is dangling 100 feet in the air from her partner’s foot, she’s not thinking about falling. She's not thinking of how dangerous this is. She can’t afford to think that way. She believes she can float in the air, supported only by a human foot, and she does. She is living in possibility.

There is no room for fear in this scenario. No fear. And they fly...

It made me wonder why, as we enter every new endeavor or relationship or creative pursuit, why are we so often filled with fear? Why are our hearts so filled with doubt?

What if we lived in possibility and belief…all of the time?

Could we fly, like these miraculous performance artists?

What if?